‘Holey Moley’ Review: Mindless Summer Reality Competition Fun in Mini-Golf Form

IndieWire | 6/20/2019 | Staff
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When future generations of TV fans look back on this era of the medium, whatever preferred method of record-keeping of the times will reflect that there was once a primetime series on the American Broadcasting Corporation that revolved around competitive mini-golf. Its existence alone is an unabashed novelty, but even beyond the absurdity of giving this a summer lineup slot, there’s one twist: It has the potential to be a ton of fun.

Thursday night’s debut episode may be a proof of concept of sorts to an American viewing public. But if this is coming mere months after a show that featured Tori Spelling dressed up in a unicorn outfit singing sub-mediocre renditions of Britney Spears lit up the ratings charts, there’s no reason “Holey Moley” can’t survive on its own merits. A mutated, supercharged version of a water park putt-putt course, it’s the most recent version of an ABC competition show that prizes the journey more than the destination.

Show - Solution - Problem - Golf - Clock

It’s the show’s solution to the inherent problem of golf: Without a clock and in a sport with one competitor at a time, how do you build the tension of a one-on-one race? Aside from doubling down on biographical details of the people playing, you swap a golf course for a mammoth obstacle one. The relative difficulty of each hole seems arbitrary — the biggest challenge of one is relinquishing a second shot to a pair of special guests, while one wallops a contestant with enough force to send her flying the length of a difficult eagle putt.

There’s also a slight imbalance in the ratio of actual mini-golf playing to all the surrounding trappings. “Holey Moley” doesn’t...
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